Noted scholars discussed philosophy of law at TU

On 29th October School of Governance, Law and Society held a workshop on philosophy of law, where noted scholars argumented on professor Robert Alexy’s views.


The “weight” of Robert Alexy’s intellectual prestige and the worldwide influence of his theory of legal argumentation as well as his “weight-formula” led him to be quoted in many Constitutional Court rulings and to be considered as of one of the leading contemporary philosophers of law.

Robert Alexy is a professor at the University of Kiel and in 2002 he was appointed to the Academy of Sciences and Humanities at the University of Göttingen. In 2010 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. Alexy studied law and philosophy at the University of Göttingen. He received his PhD in 1976 with the dissertation A Theory of Legal Argumentation, and he achieved his Habilitation in 1984 with a Theory of Constitutional Rights. Alexy's definition of law looks like a mix of Kelsen's normativism (which was an influential version of legal positivism) and Radbruch's legal naturalism (Alexy, 2002), but Alexy's theory of argumentation (Alexy, 1983) puts him very close to legal interpretivism.

Alexy has influenced not only the theoretical debate but also affected the way in which today courts from different country and legal systems address legal cases and solve hard cases.

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss Alexy’s concept of law and fundamental rights, moving from his last developments and their impinging on the dual nature of law and the non-positivist standpoint, calling for a discussion among prominent legal scholars and legal philosophers, who would confront Alexy’s account of law from different perspectives.

The workshop was opened by Katrin Niglas, Vice-Rector for Research at Tallinn University, who was happy to see such prestigeous scholars at Tallinn University. 

The workshop panelists this time were Brian Bix who made his speech on a critique of the claim to correctness; Peter Koller who spoke about the connection between law and morality and doubted about Robert Alexy’s view; Ralf Poscher on Robert Alexy's latest attempt to describe the object of the principles theory and Torben Spaak on Robert Alexy and the dual nature of law. The presentations were followed by a heated discussion.

The second part was opened by Timothy Endicott discussing principles of interpretation; Jan-Reinard Sieckmann on the dual nature thesis and finally our own professor Mart Susi on internet balancing formula.

The workshop was a great success and gave the audience a better understanding on Alexy’s theory of legal argumentation.

Workshop programme